Do I Need Insurance or A License For Metal Detecting

When starting out many people ask the question, do I need insurance when metal detecting?

Insurance is not a legal requirement when metal detecting nor is it mandatory.

With that being said there are benefits to having insurance to cover you while metal detecting.

You’re probably thinking what am I getting insured against, what could possibly happen while metal detecting.

Believe it or not there are many risks that you want to be covered for.

These risks that you want to be insured against include:

  • Damage to landowners property
  • Causing harm to the public by accident
  • Loss of earnings for the landowners in instances such as leaving a gate open and livestock escape
  • Other claims made by the general public for death, injury or damage to their personal property.

It does happen, there have been many cases of gates being left open for livestock to escape and damage to landowners property. Accidents do happen and it’s a good idea to be protected against that.

At the very least it’s going to put the landowners mind at rest knowing you are insured.

Depending on the country you reside in and where you metal detect, will affect how you go about getting metal detecting insurance.

How to get Metal detecting insurance in the UK

If you live in the UK, the most simple way to get insurance for metal detecting is by joining a regulated metal detecting association.

There are a couple of well established well known associations.


If you’ve been doing your research or live in the UK you’ve probably heard of the NCMD (National council for Metal Detecting)

It’s solely an organisation that exists to promote, protect, regulate and encourage responsible metal detecting.

One of the benefits of joining the NCMD is that once you do you will be covered by their public liability insurance.

For the small price of just £8 a year, you’ll receive £10 million cover with no excess fees.

You’ll also receive a membership card which can come in very handy when trying to get permission from landowners to metal detect on their land. It shows you’re a serious detectorist and not just there to steal their loot.

There are other benefits of joining the NCMD such as newsletters, insurance cover worldwide (excluding the US and Canada) access to their app and access to a fund that they have specifically designated to the costs of excavating major finds.


FID or the federation of independent detectorists is an alternative to the NCMD the principle is the same of this organisation.

It includes the same public liability insurance policy for up to £10 million but is slightly more expensive to join FID, but cheaper per year than the NCMD.

£12 initial fee which includes a £5.50 joining fee, the £5.50 annual fee and £3 postage to cover costs of receiving your membership card.

While the FID is not as big an organisation as the NCMD their goals are the same to promote responsible metal detecting and to be a voice when new rules and legislation is released.

The FID I believe is less controversial than the NCMD and truly is a voice for you the detectorist. I won’t go into all of this here, but a little research and you can find out more about the controversy in the detecting community surrounding the NCMD.

Either way both organisations will offer you full insurance for a very small fee, which could potentially save you from paying out thousands if something does go wrong.

How to get Metal detecting insurance in the US

Firstly it’s nowhere near as common to have metal detecting insurance in the US.

The US is far less regulated and way more relaxed when it comes to the laws and policies surrounding metal detecting.

Of course depending on where you reside in the US will determine the rules and laws of metal detecting so the first thing you need to do is contact your local authorities to find out what laws are in place.

There’s only one way I know of to get insurance in the USA and that is by contacting an insurance company and taking out what they call an umbrella insurance policy.

You’ll need to clarify with the insurance company that you want to take this insurance policy out to cover you while metal detecting and ensure that you will be covered.

It really is more relaxed in the detecting world so having an insurance policy in place to cover you is far less important, however, nothing beats peace of mind.

If you choose to take out an insurance policy for metal detecting in the USA then you can rest assured knowing in the unlikely event that something did happen you are still covered. It’s also going to look good when you’re trying to get permission from landowners.

So it can’t hurt right?

Do I need a license for metal detecting?

In the UK and the US no such license is needed for metal detecting, what is needed is permission from landowners.

Sometimes a “permit” would be needed, so its always a good idea to check with your local authorities first.

Just a few years ago you needed a permit from the crown to detect on beaches throughout the UK, however this became discontinued and is more an open permit now with no application process.


How much is NCMD insurance?

The cost of membership for the NCMD is £8 per year, this includes your public liability insurance cover along with other benefits.

How much is FID insurance?

The cost of membership for FID is £5.50 per year, which includes your public liability insurance. There is also a £5.50 registration fee and £3 postage charges.

Do I need a license to metal detect in the UK?

No licenses are needed to metal detect in the UK, however you will need to make sure that you have the landowners permission. All land in the UK requires permission apart from crown owned beaches.

Do I need a license to metal detect in the US?

No license is required to detect in the US, each state will have their own rules regarding metal detecting so you should always seek information and confirmation on the rules for metal detecting from your local authorities.


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